When I think of summer, I think of sand and sun. Every time I go to the beach, I usually watch a few beach movies to put me “in the mood”. Our Summer Movie Series continues with flicks that are well, just beachy.
I don’t know how you all roll when you’re at the beach, but maybe you’re committing flagrant adultery with a past love, hunting great white sharks, boat racing for street cred or just pretending your boss is still alive so you can enjoy his cushy beach house.
Whatever your favorite beach activity may be I’ve got a movie for you!
1. A Summer Place (1959)
I freaking love this movie. Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue are two teens that meet and fall in love while she visits his family’s island inn in Maine while on vacation with her parents.
Oh, and her dad and his mom used to be lovers when they were teenagers and decide to claim some happiness and get back together and tear apart their respective families. All that’s missing is an unplanned teen pregnancy. Oh wait–there is one?
Bonus: An addictive soundtrack – watch the above clip only if you don’t mind spending the rest of the day humming the theme song.
2. From Here to Eternity (1953)
Set against the lush backdrop of Hawaii in the times leading up to Pearl Harbor, nothing makes me feel like hitting the beach more than the iconic Burt Lancaster/Deborah Kerr rolling-in-the-surf kiss scene.
Fun Fact: Lancaster and Kerr carried on an affair while filming.
3. Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)
Probably the most entertaining of the cheesy beach movies featuring forever teen icons Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. Also stars a young Linda Evans of “Dynasty” fame with her original face!
4. Jaws (1975)
While I have a fondness for Jaws 2 and a guilty appreciation for Jaws 3D (I pretend #4 didn’t happen. Sorry, Michael Caine.), the original Jaws is by far the best. Why? Quint’s monologue.
5. Summer Rental (1985)
John Candy at his humorous best as a frazzled air traffic controller taking his family to the beach on a much-needed vacation. Of course there is an 80’s musical montage of them fixing up a boat so they can race the town jerk in the annual regatta. Love. This. Movie.
6. One Crazy Summer (1986)
John Cusack is a wannabe cartoonist who falls for Demi Moore, a singer trying to save her property from developers. Wait, is that a musical montage where they fix a boat for a boat race against the town jerks? It is! Oh the 80s!
7. Back to the Beach (1987)
Frankie and Annette are back as mid-western parents to a punk wannabe son and a daughter who is shacked up with her surfer boyfriend. While visiting their daughter at the beach they grew up at, they rediscover the people they once were.
Bonus: Highlights include a turf war, a surf-off and Pee Wee Herman. Hey, did you know that the bird is the word? It totally is.
8. Weekend at Bernie’s (1989)
Two guys trying to impress their crooked boss are invited to his beach house for the weekend, where he plans to have them killed. Instead, the boss is double-crossed by his mob partners and he ends up dead instead. Weirdly, nobody seems to notice (These folks must have severely limited olfactory senses…). Of course, hilarity ensues. What’s the jail sentence for abuse of a corpse? *ponders*
9. Psycho Beach Party (2000)
Adapted from an off-Broadway play, this spoof of psychodramas, surfing/beach party movies, and slasher flicks is pretty ridiculous. Lauren Ambrose (of Six Feet Under) plays good girl/surfer girl Florence Forrest, a girl that keeps suffering blackouts just when people turn up dead. Of course she has split personalities. You’ll have fun figuring out whodunit!
Buffy Alert: Third billing in this thriller goes to the hilariously adorable Nicholas Brendon.
10. Blue Crush (2002)
Kate Bosworth stars as a surfer girl in Hawaii who nearly drowned in a surfing accident and has residual fear. A huge competition is coming up and she needs to get her head in the game so she can make it big and get herself, her sister, and two friends out of poverty. And of course, there’s a guy!
Fun Fact: In the big competition at the end, a male pro surfer is doing the stunts for Kate Bosworth’s character. He wore a wig and shaved his legs and everything. They digitally placed Bosworth’s image over his for the final cut, but the male surfer’s feet still appear. I imagine a surfer with Hobbit feet now…
11. 50 First Dates (2004)
Set in Hawaii, Adam Sandler plays a lying womanizer named Henry that falls in love with Drew Barrymore’s Lucy, a character that has significant memory issues due to a car accident. The whole movie is spent as Henry tries to get Lucy to fall in love with him, over and over and over again. Oddly sweet/depressing/funny.
12. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
This movie kills me every time I watch it. Written by and starring Jason Segel as Peter Bretter, a composer that gets dumped by his long-term girlfriend, television star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). He comes to Hawaii to forget about her…but she’s there with her new flame, famous Brit rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand at his finest).
The Hawaiian scenery is gorgeous, but the best parts of this movie are…well, the whole freaking movie. Can anybody say “Dracula Musical”?
Is anybody going to hit the beach this summer? If you get into any boat races, be sure to post it here! If you do any 80s musical montages while fixing up a boat, I want you to film it and send it here. I will then build a shrine in your honor.
Stay tuned for our next installment of my Summer Movie Series: Road Trippin’!
Readers – what are your favorite sun and surf movies?
Krista currently lives in a semi-haunted house in New England with her hubby/best friend and obscenely big-eared dog. She thinks the world would be a better place if people smiled more and ate more dark chocolate. She is a firm believer that humor can be found in everything and that Tom Selleck’s moustache has healing properties…